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Dr Matthew Snape, Consultant in General Paediatrics and Vaccinology

I work as a consultant in General Paediatrics and Vaccinology. This means half my job is working as a general/acute paediatrician, looking after children admitted to hospital for a wide range of conditions (including many with infectious diseases).

My research work is based at the Oxford Vaccine Group, where I conduct clinical trials of new and existing vaccines in both adults and children. The ultimate goal of these studies is to reduce the number of children coming into hospital with serious infections. Examples of vaccines that we have studied include vaccines against serogroup B meningococcus (introduced into the routine UK schedule in September 2015) and respiratory syncitial virus (RSV, a major cause of respiratory infections in infants). Also, I recently led a first in human phase 1 study of one the candidate vaccine strategies against Ebola virus.

'There are many different models of successful clinical academics.'In my work, I am inspired by the combination of intellectual interest and tangible results. Working as a clinical paediatrician is obviously hugely rewarding, and I like to be able to combine that 'day to day' problem solving with longer-term projects that have the potential to result in a larger impact on children’s health at a population level.

Pathway to clinical academia

I’d actually had minimal research experience by the time I completed my clinical training, but was always interested in pursuing this. I therefore decided to take a step sideways and take a research position rather than looking for substantive consultant posts, becoming a research fellow at the Oxford Vaccine Group. This eventually led to a post-graduate MD and an NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre funded post as a consultant clinical academic. A slightly circuitous route, but not one I regret.

About clinical academia

One of the great things about clinical academia, and medicine in general, is how broad the opportunities are, and how different people can contribute in different ways. So, thankfully, there are many different models of successful clinical academics. That said, I think all share the desire to understand how to stop people becoming unwell (or how to make them better) at a more profound level than is possible in our daily clinical practice. 


 View Dr Snape’s departmental page

October 2015